CERN’s fight against COVID-19: An innovative and basic ventilator

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 1.4 million and killed around 88,000 people around the world. While most experience mild symptoms, few require hospitalization and, in extreme cases, intubated with a ventilator. Ventilators have become a bridge between life and death for few. Healthcare systems around the world are struggling to acquire ventilators as more and more people are requiring to use one in their fight against COVID-19. Many automobile and technology companies have come forward to make these life-saving devices.

Recently, the strong global network of 18,000 scientists and experts from the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) have come up with a basic ventilator model. This ventilator can be used for patients with mild respiratory problems and for those who are on the path to recovery. It is not a replacement for the high-end ventilators that are in use today but certainly would free up these machines for patients with extreme conditions.

Prototype details

This basic model, referred to as a High Energy physics community Ventilator or HEV, is of simple design and works on a similar principle that is in use today at CERN for regulating gas flows in particle detectors. It is cheap to produce and can run on batteries, emergency generators, and solar panels, making it apt for use in remote places and places with limited resources.

ATLAS detector. Image credit: CERN

CERN operates the world’s largest and most expensive physics laboratory, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The LHC is the most powerful particle collider accelerator that is in operation today. The scientists at CERN study sub-atomic particles by colliding high energy electrons head-on in the LHC.

HEV is not the first innovation in CERN’s fight against COVID-19. They produce sanitizer gels, 3D printed masks, and perspex barriers for the local law enforcement agencies.

According to the lab, all these innovations related to COVID-19 will be released under an open license so the technology can be leveraged where needed.

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